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Emirates Adds Christchurch To Its Network

Media Release
2 July 2004

Emirates Adds Christchurch To Its Fast-Growing Network

South Island Gateway Is Second NZ Destination In 12 Months

Christchurch today became the 77th destination to join the network of Dubai-based Emirates, the world’s fastest growing intercontinental airline, with the arrival of the airline’s inaugural flight from Dubai via Melbourne.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Commercial Operations Worldwide, said in Christchurch today: “The addition of services to Christchurch is not only indicative of the pace of growth of our airline, but it also underscores our commitment to New Zealand.”

Christchurch is the airline’s second destination in New Zealand after Auckland. When Emirates started services to New Zealand in August last year, Auckland was its 68th destination.

Mr Al Ghaith said: “New Zealand is gaining in popularity among European and Middle Eastern leisure travellers, and we anticipate our timely new service will cater to the growing demand.

“Having a direct service to this gateway to the South Island scenery is a real plus,” he said.

“Trans-Tasman traffic is also growing at a robust pace and Emirates’ new Christchurch service, operating with our leading-edge Airbus A340-500 aircraft, provides both Australian and New Zealand passengers with yet another quality travel option,” he added.

The A340-500 carries 12 First Class, 42 Business and 204 Economy passengers, and 14 tonnes of cargo, adding valuable, wide-bodied capacity for South Island exporters.

Emirates was the launch carrier for the Airbus A340-500, the world’s longest-range commercial aircraft, when it started operating last December on the Dubai-Sydney-Auckland route. Emirates’ USD$1.8 billion investment in its fleet of A340-500s ensures that its long-haul passengers travel in maximum comfort. The aircraft boast several innovations including: the world’s first enclosed suites in First Class; mood lighting which helps to ease jetlag; and an inflight entertainment system with over 500 channels - three times as many as on rival airlines.

Initially operating three times a week, the Christchurch service will be boosted to six times a week in mid-August, at which point Emirates will have 54 trans-Tasman flights a week, with three services daily into and out of Auckland.

Mr Al Ghaith said: “As our operations in this country continue to go from strength to strength, we are keen to play our part to promote New Zealand. We also want to contribute to the New Zealand people, who have been so welcoming and supportive of our airline.

“That is one of the reasons why we sponsored the New Zealand Open golf earlier this year and why, just over two weeks ago, we put our backing behind the New Zealand America’s Cup yachting syndicate to set Emirates Team New Zealand on the challenge path.”

Christchurch service details

Emirates’ Dubai-Melbourne-Christchurch service, flight EK406, departs Dubai at 10.10am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving in Melbourne at 5.30am the next day. EK406 then continues onward to Christchurch, departing from Melbourne at 7.15am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and landing in Christchurch at 12.30pm. From 16 August, EK406 will operate Mondays through Saturdays from Dubai and Tuesdays through Sundays from Melbourne.

Return flight EK407 will take off from Christchurch on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 6.05pm, landing in Melbourne at 7.45pm. From Melbourne, the flight will depart for Dubai at 9.30pm, arriving in 5.40am the next day. Starting 17 August, EK407 will operate Tuesdays through Sundays from Christchurch.

All flight times indicated above are local.

Emirates’ new services introduced so far in 2004 include: Lagos, Accra, Glasgow, Vienna, Shanghai, New York and Christchurch, plus Budapest (cargo-only).


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